Archer: WBC '17 most fun I've had as player

Rays righty returns to camp, but may rejoin Team USA if it advances

Archer: WBC '17 most fun I've had as player

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Back in camp, Rays right-hander Chris Archer assumed a glow when recounting his experience pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Archer had looked forward to being a part of the team since the end of the 2016 season. He started Team USA's opener against Colombia and pitched four perfect innings.

"It was amazing," Archer said. "It was some of the most fun I've ever had playing baseball. And hopefully we can have a similar approach and atmosphere this year. Just having fun and playing meaningful games."

Archer didn't hesitate to answer when asked to identify the most memorable part of his experience.

"Just like always, seeing my parents' faces when I walked in from the bullpen," Archer said. "Then, after the game, my parents were on Cloud 9 because of how well I did. Just being able to give them that experience. That was No. 1, but there were other things that were special, too."

The possibility exists that Archer could pitch again for Team USA if the team continues to advance. Given that, he is pulling "as hard as he possibly can" for Team USA.

"Because I don't want it to be over yet, because it might be my only opportunity to do this," Archer said. "So I really want to make it out to L.A., bad."

Archer said he hoped that interest in the Classic is growing.

Archer on playing for Team USA

"I don't know as far as the fans go," Archer said. "I haven't really gotten a feeling for how the fans are feeling yet. But I know other players are starting to be intrigued. I saw a quote where Mike Trout said he was going to be in for the next one. So that's a huge step forward."

For now, Archer said it was nice to be back in Port Charlotte among his Tampa Bay teammates.

"Being around the guys and just seeing how excited they were for me," Archer said. "I was glad that I was able to represent the organization and the United States, and they were, too."

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games in San Diego's Petco Park and the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.